How MapmyIndia built an Indian super app for maps, mobility, hyperlocal discovery
MapmyIndia CEO and Executive Director Rohan Verma
MapmyIndia Move, an app by Delhi-based MapmyIndia, recently won Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat App Innovation Challenge in the Others category for its unique indigenous solution for ensuring hyperlocal discovery.
MapmyIndia Founders Rakesh Verma and Rashmi Verma took a big gamble to put maps online. When their business was started as CE Infosystems was started in 1995, India did not have a map-reading culture like the US.
But Rakesh and Rashmi believed the digital maps market in India would boom and 80 percent of all data would have a location component. The couple started the company with Rs 50 lakh they saved while working US jobs at General Motors and IBM.
“My father and mother had seen maps were beneficial to business and government organisations in the US. Not only did people in the US use digital maps, but also used print maps to take on road trips. So, they wanted to bring this kind of technological progress to India” said Rohan Verma, the founders’ son and an electrical engineer who joined the business in 2004 and worked his way up to CEO and executive director.
Rapid adoption of digital maps
Over the years, the market for digital maps exploded in India. The country saw a major shift in adoption of connected devices and the internet.
Businesses involved in ecommerce and hyperlocal delivery to logistics and supply chain management started using digital maps and built them into their products and services.
MapmyIndia capitalised on this and monetised its map offerings through consumer apps, navigation devices, licensing, map APIs, tracking, and analytics, etc.
The company has grown its prowess with location technology, specifically in the areas of navigation, tracking, IoT, and analytics to provide products, services, and solutions to over 10 million end users – be it consumers, enterprises, or the government.
It sold its solutions to customers in industries such as automobile, ecommerce, banking and insurance, spacetech, and more. MapmyIndia’s inbuilt digital map solutions are used by auto companies Tata Motors, Hyundai, Mahindra & Mahindra, BMW, Ford, Jaguar, TVS Motors, and others. Its maps also power, Amazon, and Cabs.
Today, MapmyIndia's technologies and maps are used by 5,000 enterprise customers across the public and private sectors. It claims 80 percent of all cars in India with navigation systems use MapmyIndia, and thousands of the large and small technology companies and app developers use MapmyIndia's APIs and solutions, leading to 20 crore Indians benefiting from MapmyIndia's maps and technologies.
MapmyIndia founders Rakesh and Rashmi Verma
The super app
The startup’s app, MapmyIndia Move, is a super app for maps, mobility, safety, hyperlocal social discovery, and more, and offers a detailed house number level map search, compatibility with India's own satellite imagery service from ISRO's Bhuvan, real-time traffic and safety-based navigation, and safety monitoring of vehicles and loved ones on the move.
It also provides hyperlocal social discovery of nearby places of interest, and map-based hyperlocal issue reporting by community members to help governments, local authorities, and businesses fix issues faced by citizens and consumers on ground.
Rakesh Verma, Chairman and Managing Director, MapmyIndia, says, "Our vision that someday 80 percent of all data would have a location component, and our desire to build something that could benefit all of India, led us to build this digital map product with world-class advanced location-based technologies.”
MapmyIndia Move is powered by maps from MapmyIndia. Over the last 25 years, MapmyIndia claims to have built from the ground up detailed, comprehensive, feature-rich, and continuously updated maps that cover house-number and building-level detail, comprehensive village-level detail (about 7 lakh), 99 percent of India's road network (about 66 lakh kilometres), and 1.5+ crore points of interest across 360 categories.
MapmyIndia's Move app uses Augmented Reality to allow users to select a category and look for a nearby place
“MapmyIndia knows India, and it is reflected in the better detail and localisation of our intelligent maps and app. We do not use user data for advertising, unlike global search giants, making MapmyIndia Move a better, safer, and more intelligent alternative for Indians,” Rakesh added.
MapmyIndia Move claims to offer India’s best 3D and house-level maps with voice-guided navigation, remote GPS tracking of vehicles through connected GPS IoT gadgets, and coronavirus-related hyperlocal information, such as nearby containment zones, testing centres, treatment hospitals, and isolation wards, to help users stay safe.
The super app also offers live safety alerts about upcoming potholes, speed breakers, and accident-prone zones during navigation, precise directions to the exact doorstep of buildings through house number maps, and the revolutionary eLoc, a six-character unique location ID for every place that simplifies India's complex addressing system.
Users can also access community reports of hyperlocal issues on the map to help authorities fix issues by citizens on-ground, and hyperlocal social networking and discovery features through My World View to help people stay connected with people, places, things and information around them in real time.
It also allows multiple apps to be integrated into the MapmyIndia Move app by leveraging MapmyIndia’s APIs, giving users continuously increasing features and functionality.
The road ahead
MapmyIndia Move’s win under the ‘Others’ category at the Digital India AatmaNirbhar Bharat App Innovation Challenge is indicative of growing adoption of digital maps.
The super app could see rapid adoption as demand for digital maps continues to swell and the global market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15 percent from 2019 to 2024. Further, the Asia-Pacific market is the fastest growing, according to a Mordor Intelligence report.
At present, popular apps such asand , and even larger platforms such as Amazon and Reliance Jio are looking to capitalise on the trend of super apps and take a page from Tencent’s playbook.
The Chinese tech giant’s WeChat app started as a messaging service but onboarded features for gaming, payments, social commerce publishing platform.
In just one year after its 2012 launch, WeChat acquired 100 million users and became a dominant player in China’s internet ecosystem.
MapmyIndia and its super app still have a long way to go, but they seem to be working in the right direction. In 2017, Rohan claimed MapmyIndia was recording annual revenues of Rs 200 crore and aimed to reach Rs 1,000 crore in five years. He didn’t disclose the company’s current financials, but says it is profitable and growing.
“We are a deep tech company and have around 1,000 employees. Out of this, 900 are data scientists and engineers, and 100 are in sales, marketing, and other roles,” he says.